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David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Israel Finkelstein , Neil Asher Silberman

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"A bold and provocative book, well researched, well written, and powerfully argued. It challenges many of the assumptions developed by the literal religious minds of the ages, opening traditional possibilities to new conclusions." -- John Shelby Spong, author of Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality

"A brutally honest assessment of what archaeology can and cannot tell us about the historical accuracy of the Bible, presented with both authority and panache." -- Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

" . . . an intellectual high-wire act. Their audacity and skill is admirable . . . The book's most stunning accomplishment is its skillful reconciliation of competing perspectives within the biblical text." -- Archaeology Magazine

Présentation de l'éditeur

The exciting field of biblical archaeology has revolutionized our understanding of the Bible -- and no one has done more to popularise this vast store of knowledge than Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, who revealed what we now know about when and why the Bible was first written in The Bible Unearthed. Now, with David and Solomon, they do nothing less than help us to understand the sacred kings and founding fathers of western civilization.

David and his son Solomon are famous in the Bible for their warrior prowess, legendary loves, wisdom, poetry, conquests, and ambitious building programmes. Yet thanks to archaeology's astonishing finds, we now know that most of these stories are myths. Finkelstein and Silberman show us that the historical David was a bandit leader in a tiny back-water called Jerusalem, and how -- through wars, conquests and epic tragedies like the exile of the Jews in the centuries before Christ and the later Roman conquest -- David and his successor were reshaped into mighty kings and even messiahs, symbols of hope to Jews and Christians alike in times of strife and despair and models for the great kings of Europe. A landmark work of research and lucid scholarship by two brilliant luminaries, David and Solomon recasts the very genesis of western history in a whole new light.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  31 commentaires
74 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Unearthing I & II Samuel and I Kings 13 avril 2006
Par George R Dekle - Publié sur
In a thought provoking application of archaeological findings to the Biblical texts, Finkelstein & Silberman arrive at striking conclusions, some better-reasoned than others. The bottom line of "David & Solomon" is that the two were rather insignificant tribal chieftans ruling from a backwater hilltop village called Jerusalem, and that Saul was a somewhat more significant chieftan in the north country who became a big enough nuisance to Egypt that, with the help of Philistine mercenaries, they devastated his kingdom. David either helped in this devastation, or stood idly by while Saul was destroyed, but he definitely profited by Saul's misfortune.

Finklestein & Silberman credit the broad outline of David's and Saul's careers, but not the detail. They demonstrate that the political, economic, and social conditions of David's times correspond perfectly with the conditions described in the story of David's outlaw youth, and that Northern Israel was devastated about the time Saul and Jonathan would have been killed on Mount Gilboa. If the background of the Saul and David stories therefore correspond quite closely to archaeological findings, why should the detail be rejected out of hand? Given allowance for the "good old days" effect and the political need to cast David in the best light possible while casting Saul in the worst light possible, why can't the stories be considered at least as accurate as Herodotus, the "Father of History"? The scholarship of the 1960's posited that the story of David in Samuel consisted of an "early source" which was quite accurate overwritten by a "late source" which was concerned with polemic and apologetic. Current scholarship posits a multi-layered text similar to that described by Finkelstein & Silberman. As to the story of Solomon: They make an excellent case for the accomplishments of the Omrid dynasty and of Hezekiah and Mannassah being retrojected to the reign of Solomon.

The authors' greatest misstep comes in the chapter entitled "Challenging Goliath." They characterize the Philistine giant's armor as that of a 7th Century Greek hoplite. The giant's panoply might well correspond to the panoply of a Greek warrior from the Heroic Age, but not a hoplite. Hoplites were not individual warriors, but soldiers who fought in rank and in unison. Heroic Age Greek warriors engaged in single combat. Hoplites wore solid cuirasses, not mail. They carried only one thrusting spear, not two javelins. A hoplite's helmet was so constructed as to withstand a sling bullet to the forehead. On the other hand, the boar's tooth helmet of the Heroic Age would not. The hoplon (shield), from which the hoplite derived his name, was not carried by a shield bearer, but by the individual soldier. Hoplite warfare was in its infancy in the 7th Century, and hoplites weren't exported as mercenaries in any significant number until after the Peloponnesian War. Notice I didn't name the Philistine giant. "The Early Source," aka the earliest stratum of Samuel, didn't either, a datum overlooked or ignored by Finkelstein and Silberman. "The Late Source" aka later strata of Samuel, added in the detail of Goliath's name. There is absolutely no difficulty with the basic story of David gaining fame by killing a huge Philistine champion in single combat.

Finkelstein & Silberman's Classical Greek fixation does not end with hoplites. In Appendix 6, they try manfully to make David's Pelethites into Greek Peltasts. Peltasts didn't come onto the scene until the Peloponnesian War, long after David's time. There is a much simpler and more widely accepted explanation: they were Philistines.

Despite the missteps, the book was very good. The authors did an excellent job of comparing current archaeological findings with the Biblical text. I would like to have seen the authors spend a little more time comparing those findings to current textual criticism of the Biblical text.

A FOOTNOTE: Since writing this review, I have come across evidence suggesting that Greek mercenaries were exported to Egypt around the time of David & Goliath. Barry Strauss, in his new book "The Trojan War, A New History," reports the finding of an Egyptian painting from the 1300-1200's BCE which depicts a battle scene that includes two Greek warriors wearing boar's tooth helmets. This tends to confirm my argument that Goliath was more likely to have been a Heroic Age Greek warrior than he was to have been a Classical Age Greek hoplite.
45 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Long live the Kings 31 mars 2006
Par FrKurt Messick - Publié sur
Authors Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman first caught my attention with their book 'The Bible Unearthed'. That book presented new discoveries and ways of looking at previous discoveries in the area of archaeological research and the origins of the Bible. This is one of the latest contributions of major scholars to the continuing quest for clarity and understanding of the development and meaning of the biblical texts. 'We believe that a reassessment of finds from earlier excavations and the continuing discoveries by new digs have made it clear that scholars must now approach the problems of biblical origins and ancient Israelite society from a completely new perspective.

This book follows some of their speculations and continues their methods of treading between the more fundamentalist 'the Bible is history and the only history' camp and the minimalist 'the Bible has nothing to do with history' camp. There is historical content and influence on the text of the Bible, according to Finkelstein and Silberman, but the Bible is not nor was ever intended to be a historical textbook of the sort we have today. This is particularly important when dealing with the greatest of Biblical kings, David and Solomon.

'Our challenge will be to provide a new perspective on the David and Solomon story by presenting the flood of new archaeological information about the rise and development of the ancient society in which the biblical tale was formed. We will attempt to separate history from myth; old memories from later elaboration; facts from royal propaganda to trace the evolution of the David and Solomon narrative from its ancient origins to the final compilation of the biblical accounts.'

In this vein, the authors trace the biblical narrative of David and Solomon, and then combine it with what is known from archaeological and extra-biblical textual evidence. They look at issues of psychology and politics, institutional and cultural development, and later influences and growths from the earlier narrative strands.

I found the appendices to be particularly valuable in this volume. Finkelstein and Silberman discuss the recent Tel Dan discovery, a controversial rendering of an inscription that is the earliest mention of David outside of the Bible (the inscription refers to a king of the House of David who dies with the king of Israel, most likely the kings Jeroram and Ahaziah) - the authors state that this discovery deals a serious blow to the minimalist idea. Other appendices look at Jerusalem more specifically, other cities that would have been part of Solomon's kingdom, and more.

This is a text written in a popular, accessible style - thus, footnotes/endnotes are scarce. However, there is a good index, and an excellent bibliography/selected readings section that is categorised by chapter and topic.

Finkelstein has a position at Tel Aviv University, as director of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Archaeological Institute, and is currently working on excavations at Tel Meggido (better known to modern readers as Armageddon). Silberman is director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium. Both are frequent contributors to major scholarly and popular archaeology magazines and journals, and each has published a number of noted books in the field of Syro-Palestinian archaeology.
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 David and Solomon a "Must Read" for Bible Buffs 12 mars 2006
Par Frederic Glynn - Publié sur
Finkelstein & Silberman's "David and Solomon" is a very, very interesting survey of archaeological findings that support or refute various biblical traditions, biblical scholarship, and provocative commentary. However, as was true in "The Bible Unearthed," I occasionally found myself spending a little time trying to tell whether the text is what Finkelstein & Silberman believe or whether it is a summary of the biblical account.

My principal disappointment was that although Finkelstein & Silberman mentioned the copper mines at Timna, 15 miles north of the northernmost tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, they did not mention the religious significance of the mines. The mines were operated by Midianites under the supervision of Egyptian troops until the troops were withdrawn by Pharaoh Rameses VI in 1141 BCE. After the Egyptians left, the Midianites destroyed the temple where they had been forced to worship the Egyptian goddess, Hathor and replaced it with a red and yellow cloth tent where they began the first recorded worship of Yahweh. It was from Timna that Yahweh-worship migrated to Canaan and played a major role in Saul's establishment of the monarchy, the monarchy which was seized by David after a long string of most serendipitous murders .

That the biblical accounts of David and Solomon contain details that could only have been written long after David and Solomon were said to have reigned does not indicate that they were not eleventh- and tenth-century "kings" (more like heads of tribal federations than what we, today, would think of as kings). That details were added to the stories of David and Solomon hundreds of years later to make those stories serve the needs of the theocracies that replaced the monarchy does not change the centuries in which David and Solomon lived.
16 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very well-written. 16 février 2006
Par Rob - Publié sur
Having read "The Bible Unearthed," I can say that this is a more-than-worthy follow-up. I am now something like 80% convinced that Finkelstein's redatings are correct; his hypothesis of the development of the Davidic tradition is compelling. While I don't agree with a few of his assertions (such as the idea that the term "seren" must be a seventh-century interpolation), the overall quality of the book is 5-stars. It is very well-researched; there is an extensive bibliography at the end. Also interesting- in contrast to those who consider Finkelstein and Silberman to be "minimalists"- is their critique of real minimalists like Davies and Thompson. Highly recommended.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent Scholarly Work, Curious Flaws, Lacks Notes 6 novembre 2009
Par David M. Dougherty - Publié sur
Since Biblical history is not my main forte, I came onto this book rather late. Nonetheless, it is still timely, and probably will remain so for a number of years into the future. Then I read the reviews, and found myself in full agreement with those by Reina concerning text analysis, Dekle concerning the assertion that Goliath was actually a Greek Hoplite, and Messick who actually liked the book better than I.

The authors are not the first researchers and writers to develop the thesis that although David and Solomon may have been historical characters, they were certainly not the powerful kings as described in the Bible. First and foremost they are religious examples presented to provide lessons to the faithful, and whether they are historical or mythological is rather of no consequence. The authors neither prove nor disprove the existence of David and Solomon as historical characters, but their discussion and presentation of evidence is certainly compelling to all who have some interest in the Old Testament.

The contention that Goliath was a Greek hoplite was hopelessly in error, and actually jarring to someone well-versed in Greek history. Dekle authoritatively discussed this situation in his fine review.

But the greatest problem for me was the lack of end notes listing sources and further points for clarification or discussion. The footnotes were few and explanatory, and left me desperately wanting sources for further research. The Bibliography was good as it stood, but unhelpful in tracking down points made in the text for verification or further details. Usualy such omissions mean that the text is weakly supported, if at all, by other works, and I certainly hope this was not the case. Nonetheless, the lack of end notes is a significant defect for a scholarly work.

All in all, I recommend this work to all those interested in the Bible as history, but wish to stress that a lack of historical verification does not negate or even diminish the message in any way.
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